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Three Champions Crowned at Homestead

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Posted: Thursday, November 22, 2018 6:12 am

Logano Wins First Title at Homestead

When Joey Logano was growing up in Middletown, Conn., he told everyone who asked what he wanted to be when he grew up.

“A NASCAR driver,” Logano replied.

He fulfilled his lifelong dream making his debut as an 18-year old phenom.

Ten years later, Logano completed his quest of being a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion by winning the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“We did it, we won the championship, I can’t believe it,” Logano said moments after the race. “I don’t even know what to say. This team, Roger Penske, Todd Gordon, the pit crew, these guys are amazing. Gave me the car I needed in the end to do my job. Put me in position to do my job. I couldn’t be more proud of them. We won the championship. Oh my God.”

The cup win for the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford car over Championship 4 drivers Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, and Kyle Busch, who finished as the top four in the race, capped a bounce-back season for Logano, who missed the 16-car playoff the previous season after a second-place finish in 2016.

“I’ve worked my whole life to get here, to get to the championship,” Logano said. “I’ve been so close. I spent 10 seasons fighting for this. I wasn’t sure we were going to get it, but man, (crew chief) Todd (Gordon) made a good adjustment at the end, and it was that no-quit attitude.”

Logano raced towards the front throughout the 267-lap race leading four times for 80 laps, but needed a late pass to secure the title. Daniel Suarez spun out after a bump from Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski resulting in a caution.

Logano was in fourth on the restart with 15 laps remaining, but quickly made his moves to the front and then with 12 to go, he passed Truex Jr. on an impressive move into turn 1 going to the outside to take the lead in the race away from a driver he nudged at Martinsville to secure his spot in the Championship 4.

“I was going to pass that car no matter what,” Logano said.

Logano’s racing ability and his confidence was on full display in Homestead stating that he, not any of the proclaimed “Big Three,” was the favorite.

“I felt so confident going into this week that we were the car to beat,” Logano said. “I felt like after winning Martinsville, it put us in the spot to really focus in on this race, and we did. We built a great race car, you know, that was able to be good on the short runs. It wasn't a long-run race car, that's for sure, but a 20-lap car, it was that for sure. My race team, I wasn't worried about them at all, and I knew I just had to do my job and everyone was going to do their job and everything was going to be fine. Either way, everything was going to be fine. But I felt confident and relaxed that today was going to be a good day.”

It was the third win of the season for Logano while Busch and Harvick each won eight, and Truex Jr. four.

“Today we weren’t even close,” Busch said. “Just no grip all night long, just sideways and no front grip, along that, to go with wit. Just on the long runs just couldn’t enter the corners and not being able to turn the steering wheel. Overall, just a frustrating night.”

Busch led once for 21 laps, but miscues on pit road also led to a frustrating race. Harvick was second behind Logano in laps led with 58 while Truex Jr. led for 20.

Pole-sitter Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson each took their turns at the front aiming to be spoilers before eventually fading.

Logano is one of eight active drivers with a title. Only Jimmie Johnson (seven) has more than one.

Reddick Wins Xfinity Series Championship

Tyler Reddick earned the Xfinity Series Championship by racing where not many other drivers could.

Reddick found speed driving the high line withstanding a few bumps into the wall around the Homestead-Miami Speedway on his way to winning his first Xfinity Series Championship.

“It’s something I knew was possible all year long,” Reddick said. “You know, maybe not everybody in the garage belied it, but our team believed it and that’s all we need. All the guys in the shop believe it.”

Reddick has enjoyed driving at Homestead and it showed throughout the race beating Championship 4 drivers Cole Custer, who finished second, Daniel Hemric (fourth), and Christopher Bell (11th).

“I love this place quite simply,” Reddick said. “I don’t mean to put the other tracks down by that, it’s just a place that fits me very, very well. There’s certain tracks that fit drivers very well, and for me, ever since I raced my first start here in the Truck Series, it was just a place that was a lot of fun. My aggression was often rewarded with slapping the truck in the fence and not winning races, but as time went by and I got smarter, it seemed like I figured out how to hit the fence and not lose as much time. These Xfinity cars, especially with this body this year, you can hit the fence quite a bit and for the most part keep it rolling.”

Driving inches from the wall was not something every driver could do.

“I probably could have stayed a little bit more committed to it, but the problem is you try and commit more and more to it, you’re going to hit the wall,” said Custer, who led a race-high 95 of the 200 laps. “So it’s just a balanced that (Reddick) kind of did it the whole race and got a feel for it and I tried to run like a lane off the wall so I just didn’t have the feel for it there and I think I just wasn’t aggressive enough with it at the end.”

Custer, who led 187 laps of last year’s race, led the first 93 laps and looked to be in a good position for his second win of the season, but Reddick took control leading the final 37 laps.

Reddick took the lead away from Bell, who won a series-high seven races, who lead for nine laps before dropping to outside the top 10.

“Ultimately just wasn’t fast enough tonight,” Bell said. “It’s disappointing to end our season like that, but really proud of everyone at Joe Gibbs racing and everyone on this team 20 group.”

Moffit Wins Truck Series Championship

Brett Moffitt is unsure what holds for his future.

Regardless of what happens, one thing is clear. Moffitt is a champion.

Moffitt raced his way to his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“I thought about (my future) and the only reason I thought about it is because even if I hit it, I’m still not guaranteed a job next year, but at least I can say that I won it,” Moffitt said.

Moffitt led for 59 laps including the final 29 to finish the season with six wins.

“We’ve worked really hard all year and I wanted to win it not only for myself, but everybody involved. We had so many different partners this year that have helped us along the way and helped us get to this point. I put pressure on myself to win it so that no matter what happens in the future, at least I can say I won it.”

Moffitt finished ahead of Championship 4 drivers Noah Gragson (third place), Justin Haley (eighth), and Johnny Sauter (12th).

At 26, Moffitt has had his ups and downs in his racing career with a 27th-place finish as his previous best in his other three years in the Truck Series.

“I’ve wanted to quit a hundred times,” Moffitt said. “I’ve been at some really low points in my career and I let this consume my whole life, and I’ve been in some miserable spots in life. But my family and my father have always stuck behind me and taught me a lesson that it doesn’t really matter what happens in life. If you keep working and you believe in yourself, it’s going to happen, and they believe in me, and they give me the opportunity to keep bettering myself. It’s just one of these days things are going to go my way and things are going to work out and hopefully I’m a Cup champion one day.”

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